May 3, 2018

Mayor Emanuel Announces Next Small Business “On The Road” Expo

Supports entrepreneurs, expands resources to launch or grow a business

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) today announced that its second Small Business Center “On the Road” Expo of 2018 will take place Saturday, May 12, 2018, at Arturo Velasquez Institute. The Expo will feature keynote speakers Mike Moreno Sr. and Mike Moreno, Jr., father-and-son business owners of Moreno’s Liquors located in Little Village since 1977.

“We are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses in every neighborhood,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Whether creating programs to infuse capital into a growing business, making it easier to launch, or providing the education and resources business owners need to thrive – we are growing economic opportunities in every corner of Chicago.”

This year’s Small Business Center “On the Road” Expo series builds on the city’s effort to support neighborhood businesses and economic development. Earlier this year, BACP welcomed Kenya Merritt as the City’s Chief Small Business Officer to lead the City’s efforts to help businesses in every corner of the city get the resources they need to launch and grow. Last week, BACP unveiled a package of new reforms that will reduce costs for businesses, simplify the licensing process, increase transparency, support start-up and innovative businesses, and reduce the burden of inspections for all businesses.

These reforms build on the Emanuel administration’s efforts over the past seven years to cut red tape, increase support resources for businesses, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in every part of the city. The City is also launching an outreach campaign to inform businesses about initiatives that are investing tens of millions of dollars directly into neighborhood businesses throughout the city, including the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund and Retail Thrive Zones initiatives.

“We know that small businesses are the key to generating economic vigor in neighborhoods across the city,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “That’s why we are cutting red tape and getting out the word on programs, workshops and grants that help businesses launch and grow.”

The Small Business Center ”On the Road” Expo series provides free, expert advice to all entrepreneurs on topics such as licensing, financing, sales and business planning. During the event, business owners and entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to consult, network and gather information from more than 40 government and non-profit agencies including the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, the Illinois Secretary of State and the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, business consultants from the Small Business Center will help attendees apply for, or renew, a business license, the Center for Economic Progress will provide a free tax clinic and The Law Project will also provide a free legal clinic with representatives offering 20-minute consultations.

Keynote speakers Mike Moreno, Sr. and Mike Moreno, Jr. form a father-son business partnership blazing a trail for Latino entrepreneurs in Chicago. Mike Sr., born in Mexico, opened his liquor store in Little Village in 1977, the first Latino owned liquor store in Illinois. Mike Jr. took a lead role in the family business in 2014 and helped create one of the city’s best craft beer collections. Through the work of the entrepreneurial duo, Moreno’s today boasts the largest selection of tequila and mezcal in the nation. The business also is the recipient of a $162,500 Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant to expand to the adjacent location as a tasting room for fine tequilas and mezcals.

The Expo also offers free mini-makeovers from Mario Tricoci, professional head shots, and two free workshops following the keynote speech to help entrepreneurs learn new business skills. The complete schedule is below.

Small Business Center “On the Road” Expo

Vendor Fair: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Participants can visit with vendors, get expert advice, and receive a mini-makeover and free headshots.

Keynote Speaker: 11:00 AM – 12:00PM
Little Village father-and-son business owners Mike Moreno Sr. and Jr., Moreno’s Liquors owners since 1977.

Workshops: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Workshop 1: Roadmap to Business Financing
Presented by Fifth Third Bank & Accion Chicago
In order for businesses to start or grow, financing is often needed. Attend this workshop and you will obtain the pathway to financial success including traditional and non traditional credit sources and how to best prepare for when your company needs capital most.

Workshop 2: Cómo Empezar Un Negocio (How To Start A Business)
Presented in Spanish by Quiroga College and the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Este taller cubrirá los primeros pasos para abrir un negocio en Illinois: El plan de negocio. Considerará desde la idea de negocio y la identificación de mercado a aspectos fundamentales como la educación financiera, operaciones, normas y dinámica de equipos. En este taller proporcionaremos orientación en áreas claves del negocio, incluyendo relaciones con los clientes, organización y operaciones. (This workshop will cover the first steps to start a business in Illinois: The business plan. It will consider from the business idea and the market identification to fundamental aspects such as financial education, operations, norms and equipment dynamics. In this workshop we will provide guidance in key areas of the business, including relationships with customers, organization and operations.)

Networking: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Attendees can participate in a one-hour networking session on building and growing a business, hosted by City Treasurer Kurt Summers.

The 2018 Small Business Center ‘On the Road’ expo series remaining dates and locations:

  • Saturday, May 12 from 10am-2pm at Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave.
  • Thursday, June 21 from 5pm-9pm at 1871 theMart, 222 W. Merchandise Plaza #1212
  • Saturday, September 8 from 10am-2pm at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.
  • Saturday, October 27 from 10am-2pm at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd.

To register for an expo or for more information, visit, call (312) 744-2086 or email For more information about the City of Chicago’s Small Business Center visit